Madison County resource line sees record amount of inquiries

Crisis Services staff seeing increase in 211 calls
Crisis Services staff seeing increase in 211 calls
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 4:47 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The 211 Madison County resource call center receives more and more calls yearly. The program helps people connect to much-needed resources in Madison County.

Cathy Miller with United Way says she saw a steady increase in callers since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Calls almost doubled between 2019 and 2020, from about 7,000 calls, texts and online messages to over 13,000 inquiries.

Miller says she doesn’t expect to return to the pre-pandemic levels because call volume continues to grow.

In 2021, the 211 call center hit its first high with 21,962 inquiries, until it was topped in 2022 when callers saw about 23,000 inquiries.

In the past year, the 211 call center brought on one to two more callers and more positions are available.

Miller explains that they use a large database of resources to help people with a variety of needs.

“If they have a problem or challenge they can’t face on their own, it might be financial, it might be physical or mental health it might be education or childcare,” says Miller. “They don’t know where to turn for those so 211 answers those calls and tells them what resources are available”

While the pandemic brought in a wave of calls, Miller says the fast growth in the north Alabama is contributing to the rise in calls.

She says they’re helping new people get adjusted to the area. They can call 211 for help in their new community.

But, Miller explains that more and more people are having trouble making ends meet.

While there are some top earners in our area, Miller says the gap is widening.

“We do have more people coming in and our cost of living and inflation is impacting our low to moderate-income folks who may have been fine before and now for the first time they’re looking at asking for help because they can’t manage alone,” says Miller.

You can contact the resource line by calling 211, texting 898-211 or messaging them on their website.

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